“Moor” to do
In this land between the two wild moors of Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor lies the picturesque Tamar valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with so many things to do and see in Devon. If you can drag yourself away from your luxurious yurt, the views, the animals, the gardens and wildlife and the superb facilities on offer here at Devon Yurt, you will be amazed by the abundance of opportunities on your doorstep.
Our nearest point of contact to Dartmoor is Brentor with its beautiful grade 1 listed church perched high on top of a craggy granite tor. From here you can enjoy the far-reaching views across to Cornwall and if you have a keen eye you can even pick out the yurts of Devon Yurt in the distance.
High on everyone’s list of things to do is a walk through the dramatic gorge at Lydford, seeing the White Lady Waterfall and the Devil’s Cauldron and of course you could always finish off your visit with a wonderful Devon cream tea or cooling ice cream at the tea rooms.
If it’s gardens you seek then check out The Garden House, near Yelverton or the RHS Rosemoor gardens near Torrington or the Eden Project for their tropical and rainforest biomes. Try visiting us in June or July and enjoy an Eden sessions gig which regularly features top bands.
For a wild walk, put on your walking boots and borrow our OS map and walking guides and explore one of a selection of our favourite Dartmoor walks, pack your swimming costume too as we can also direct you to some of our favourite wild swimming pools.
Food and Drink
If it’s food you crave then you are in the right corner of Devon for that, we have a full page on where to go for food and drink. There are some fantastic pubs just on the edge of Dartmoor, such as the Dartmoor Inn at Lydford, The Elephants Nest at Horndon and the Peter Tavy Inn offer great value, high quality and delicious local food. For a real taste of luxury splash out on a cream tea and a walk in the listed gardens of Hotel Endsleigh just a few miles from us at Milton Abbot. Alternate Saturdays sees the farmers market at Tavistock our local award-winning market town where you can buy everything from fresh strawberries from the local strawberry fields to fresh crab from the Salcombe fishwife.
If it’s organic food, you crave then you can purchase in season fruit and vegetables directly from us here at Devon Yurt and experience how fresh food tastes with zero food miles! Visit us in June and we will show you how we make our delicious elderflower cordial, in late August and September we will be making blackberry and apple jelly, so try your hand at that too – or simply sample it with your breakfast.
Beaches in Devon and Cornwall
Being on the Devon and Cornwall border we have easy access to the beaches of both counties.
The beautiful beaches of the North Cornwall coast are perfect for surfing, rock pooling, dog walking, coastal path walks or a day of picnics and family fun on the beach. Most beaches have surfboards for hire, For surfing we recommend Freewave Surf Academy who guarantee you ride waves in your first session. They are based at Widemouth Bay, Bude. (40 min) tel. 07870472448.
Sailing and Kayaking around Devon and Cornwall
There are all sorts of water sports available at SW lakes trust Roadford lake just 10 min from Borough farm, it is one of the biggest inland waters in the South West. It has activities ranging from sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding and wind surfing. tel 01566 771930 – if you have your own boat or kayak you can launch from numerous places, our favourites are Cotehele or Bere ferrers on the Tamar river AONB or Rock to head out onto the Camel estuary. For an adrenaline rush, there is white water kayaking on the River Dart at CRS adventures (40min) where you can climb aboard a raft and cruise down the river at speed 01364653444. For a more sedate trip try Canoe Tamar (10 min) at Gulworthy who have open Canadian canoes which take you along the scenic Tamar Valley from Cotehele tel. 01822 833409
For seaside adventure try coasteering at Port Isaac (35 min) with Cornish Rock Tours. tel.07791534884 . Try sea Kayaking with Cornish Coast Adventures who are also based at Port Isaac tel. 01208 880280 they run tours twice daily from April to October depending on the weather. If you like to be on the water, then a firm favourite with our family is to water ski or wakeboard at the camel ski school (50 min) excellent equipment and tuition 01208862727 also inflatable wild rides and private charters along the estuary, if you prefer. Having worked up an appetite why not head to the Blue tomato cafe at Rock for delicious food tel. 01208 863841.
If you seek transport on four legged friends join a trek out from Cholwell stables at Mary Tavy, they will take your group whatever riding ability, straight onto the open moors for a dramatic riding experience. ( min. age 5 years ).
If you have your own horse, bring them with you and stable them here, we have lovely looseboxes, a sandschool and 18 acres of sheltered paddocks as well as space to park your trailer. take one of numerous circular hacks from the farm through rolling countryside, or ride on a nearby beach or open moorland. If you need an escort on the moors, this can be arranged too. There are numerous shows and events throughout the year so why not compete while you are here. We have stunning riding country on Dartmoor. Staying on the equine theme there are point to point races locally most weekends in the spring and horse racing at Newton Abbot and Exeter race courses.
If you prefer two wheels, do bring your own bikes, we have barns where you can store them and you can then enjoy a variety of options,
As well as the trails on Dartmoor there are woodland trails at Tamar Trails, Gulworthy. The Granite way cycle route which runs from Okehampton to Lydford along an old railway line through tunnels and over viaducts, dramatically skirting the edge of the moor. Drake’s way runs from Tavistock to Plymouth again along an old railway line so is a perfectly safe and scenic family ride. Another beautiful cycle ride is the Camel Trail beginning at Bodmin and taking a route along the estuary ending at Padstow where you can visit the lobster hatchery, eat Rick Stein’s fish and chips at the harbour, go crabbing from the quay or walk to the beach. Closer to home, Roadford lake also has numerous off-road cycle trails. For these routes, bike hire is available locally. For those with a keen sense of adventure take route 27 which starts on the Tarka Trail in North Devon and finishes at Plymouth on Drakes trail.
For those with a head for heights there is rock climbing on both Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor and on the coast, for tuition, head to The Barn climbing at Milton Abbot. (5 mins), 01822 870521 home of the most unique indoor climbing wall in the South West, mention Devon yurt and if you mention us at Devon Yurt you can get a free upgrade to a private tuition session for groups of 3 or more climbers. For an adventure in the trees, head to Tree surfers in the Tamar valley (10min) where you can clip on to your safety wire for a tree canopy experience 01822 833409.
West Devon is spoilt for choice for fishing opportunities, the Arundel arms at Lifton (5min) offers trout and salmon fishing and tuition on local rivers including the Tamar. The Tavy, our local river, has arguably some of the best trout fishing in the country, if you have a valid EA licence you can get a day or weekly fishing permit from £20 per rod. Andrew is a very keen fisherman and is happy to share his detailed knowledge of the river with you. For lake fishing, head to Tavistock Trout Fishery (10min) where you can fish in scenic lakes surrounded by woodland and you stand a good chance of catching a lovely trout to bring home to BBQ for your supper. Roadford and Siblyback lakes also have angling opportunities. For excellent sea fishing there are numerous boat trips from Plymouth to catch mackerel (35min) Size Matters is a serious charter for keen anglers after a big catch on the open seas. Tel: 07999628511
Rainy Days on Dartmoor
There is plenty of choice if you wish to entertain your family on the odd rainy day! Nearest (5min) would be Dingles Heritage Fairground tel. 01566 783425 here you will find vintage fairground rides stalls and shows all under one roof. Trethorne farm park (10min) with its huge covered barns with soft play, trampolines, dodgems, bowling and of course the farm animals. 01566 86903. I Bounce trampoline park in Bodmin (20 min) is a great place for kids – young and old – to burn off some energy. 01208 74499. Plymouth Aquarium (45 min) is home to over 4,000 animals and 400 different species of fish. 0844 893 7938 with its floor to ceiling glass tanks the viewing is spectacular, activity sheets and talks give an educational spin to your visit.
If a cosy night out is what you need a trip to the retro Merlin cinema at Okehampton (20 min) 01837 654586 is a great experience with sofas and licensed viewing so you can bring your own supplies! For a pampering spa experience take a drive across Dartmoor to Bovey Castle (40 Min) 01647445000 for a variety of treatments and pool sauna and steam or head to the coast at Polzeath (50 min) to one of my favourite haunts – St Moritz hotel’s cowshed spa 01208 862242 for a relaxing aromatherapy massage or treatment, after which you can take a relaxing walk on the beach.
Historical things to visit in Devon and Cornwall
We have numerous places of historical interest in the area. Take a walk on the high moors of Dartmoor to find prehistoric stone circles, search well and you may even find a previously undiscovered one! A 4,000-year-old Neolithic stone circle was discovered only two years ago on Sittaford Tor. We can direct you to plenty of other circles and stone rows which are found locally.
For more recent history, the National Trust has several properties in the area. Cotehele (20 mins) which is nestled in the deep wooded valleys of the river Tamar, offers many events, activities and exhibitions, a stunning house with a delightful mill, riverside walks and gardens. For a treat, enjoy a delicious local cream tea at the cafe and walk it off on a beautiful riverside walk. Buckland Abbey (20 min) home of sir Francis Drake, here, as you wonder through the abbey you will discover a wealth of fascinating tales, amazing architecture and over 8 centuries of history!
Lanhydrock (35min) is a magnificent late Victorian country house with extensive gardens sitting on a 1,000-acre wooded estate. Castle Drogo,( 30 min) with its stunning Edwin Lutyens architecture, Lutyens gardens and walks. For those interested in castles, we have local castles at Lydford (free entry) Okehampton. Launceston with its thirteenth century castle and even King Arthur’s castle at Tintagel, whilst at Tingagel why not visit 600 year old Tintagel post office housed in a delightful medieval manor house.
Morwellham (10 min) allows you to step back into Victorian times including experiencing a Victorian village and dressing up in period costume, this world heritage site, features an historic port and copper mine, take a train deep into the copper mines. tel. 01822 832766. The local town of Tavistock (10min) is a UNESCO world heritage site, Tavistock’s history is closely interwoven with the Benedictine Abbey and then the mining industry, tucked behind the magnificent granite town hall is a wonderful panier market for great vintage and culinary finds, as well as many independent retailers, take a look at our food and drink for more information.
Gardens in Devon and Cornwall
Due to the warm South West climate, there are a wide range of stunning gardens nearby. The Garden House at Yelverton (15 min) is one of Britain’s finest gardens, set within 10 acres it offers themed garden rooms and spaces 01822 854769 Rosemoor near Torrington (50 min) is a RHS garden nestled in a Devon Valley with encircling woodland, including woodland, fruit and vegetable, cottage and stone gardens 01805 624067 there are also numerous courses, see our courses section later, we would recommend, whilst in the area visiting Dartington Glass, where you can see how the glass is blown and buy beautiful glass wear in the factory shop.
We Love Endsleigh Hotel (5min), these grade 1 listed gardens were designed by Humphrey Repton 01822 870000 – we were once having tea there and in walked Alan Titchmarsh! The Eden project (35min) designed by Tim Smit originally a disused china clay pit has become a world class visitor’s attraction 01726 811911 it is home to a tropical biome where you can wonder through the largest indoor rainforest in the world with over 1000 varieties of plants, a trail through this rain forest leads past water falls, at the top of the biome there is a canopy walk way and a viewing platform where you can observe the biome from above and enjoy the birds flying freely within. To quench your thirst, grab a baobab cocktail on the way down. Throughout the year, numerous open garden days take place, where local people open their gardens to visitors for a small charity donation.
Activities for groups
For groups staying with us, not only is there an abundance of sporting and outdoor activities but alternatively, these more leisurely activities might appeal. Camel Valley Wine Estate (25 min) offer tours and tasting of their world class wines, made by artisans who have a passion for creating wines that provide pure pleasure 01208 77959. If you prefer Cider, Countryman’s Cider (5min) located in a 15th century stable, offer the opportunity to see how traditional farm house ciders are made. Tasting is a must, they even offer recipes for cooking with cider 01822 870226. For the more active try Paintball Polson (10 min) have a 16-acre site which is home to 6 unique bespoke game zones to get the adrenalin running. 01566 775543.
Seasonal Shows and Events across Devon and Cornwall
During the summer, most of our local towns have their own one-day agricultural show as well as the larger county shows of Devon and Cornwall county in May and June respectively. We often compete at these shows with our sheep and ponies. After helping to prep the animals, our guests often come along and support us on the day to see what rosettes we have won!
Eden sessions offer live music events during the Summer months with a variety of artists, it is best to buy your tickets early as they generally sell out. You can use your ticket to get into the grounds early, so you can spend the day at The Eden Project before the concert if you wish.
Whilst there appears a huge variety of activities here our guests always surprise us by finding more things to do, flicking through our guest comment books, it is always a joy to see how varied and personal each and every holiday is, and so our list of things to do whilst staying at Devon Yurt is ever expanding